Fandom: Fullmetal Alchemist
Warnings: Language, Probably eventual limes and lemons,
Summary: One person’s reality is not necessarily another’s. Can Roy figure Ed out before their differences overwhelm their fragile relationship?
Chapter Listing Here
Roy absentmindedly turned the page of the book he was looking at, then sighed before closing it and looking around. In the past week, he’d come to Ed’s dorm room for about an hour a day and worked on getting it cleaned up and organized. It was something to do, something to get him out.
At first, it had tired him out immensely, but as the days when on, and he continued to recover, Roy found that it was helping him get used to being up and doing things. He’d need to get used to it, he didn’t have much more time left before he’d need to go back to work.
That was something he tried not to think about. Hakuro had it in for him and Roy knew it. He wasn’t sure exactly how the hearing would turn out, but he was sure that it would be unfair and that he would end up worse off after it was over. There really was no defense he could offer. He had been reckless, and Ed had gotten hurt. Roy was prepared to take whatever punishment he needed to, but it didn’t mean he had to like it.
Roy looked down at the book in his hands and smiled slightly. It was a book on the language of flowers. He’d found several of them scattered all over as well as Ed’s notes on the subject. Shaking his head, Roy stood, and limped over to the closet. Given that Ed didn’t have much space, Roy had found a bookcase that would fit inside of the closet to keep all of his books. He slipped the book into the bookcase with the others before moving over to Ed’s bed and sitting on it.
His eyes moved over the fairly clean room with a feeling of semi-sweet satisfaction. At first he’d thought that everything was simply scattered all over, but it hadn’t taken him long to realize Ed did have an organizational system of sorts. It was something he’d needed to take into account as he moved everything. It wasn’t that cleaning and organizing was his favorite thing to do, but it made him feel closer to Ed in a way and he’d been able to learn quite a bit about his lover...
Roy sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. He hadn’t visited since he’d brought over Ed’s things. He’d actually gone to the hospital since then—he’d had to for his own doctor appointments—but when he saw that Alphonse and the Rockbells were there, he figured it would be best to simply stay away.
Without thinking about it, Roy’s eyes slid over to Ed’s nightstand where the dead flowers sat in the cup. There were just some things he didn’t feel right moving... He sighed, grabbed his crutch, and stood up. His body ached and he was ready to go home, take some pain medication, and let himself rest.
Through the haze of the drugs, Roy slowly came to awareness at the insistent knocking on his front door. He groped for the clock on the nightstand, only to realize he was sleeping on the couch. His body felt heavy and numb—both from the medication and from being awakened so suddenly—and it took him a few tries to sit up. His stomach lurched and he felt like throwing up, but luckily he hadn’t eaten recently; though that also seemed to add to the sick feeling in his gut.
The pounding began again and Roy grabbed his crutch, stood unsteadily, then wandered slowly to the door. He undid the locks, then slowly cracked the door open and peered outside to see Alphonse Elric standing there with a raised fist. When the teen saw the door open, he lowered his hand and looked at Roy with a frown that radiated both displeasure and pity.
Roy wanted to growl, ‘What the hell do you want?’, but instead he said politely, “Alphonse... what a surprise... Is there something I can do for you?” His voice was hoarse and he had to clear his throat.
Alphonse seemed to consider the question for a moment, then said, “We need to talk.”
Roy raised an eyebrow. Alphonse was normally a lot more polite than that. Without a word, he stepped back and opened the door a little wider before moving back to the couch. Alphonse walked in and shut the door, and for a few minutes there was silence.
With a yawn, Roy motioned with his hand for Al to have a seat. “You don’t need to stand.”
Alphonse pressed his lips before taking a seat on a chair. “I’m here to talk about brother.”
Why am I not surprised... Roy thought cynically. “Alright, talk then,” he said as he laid across the couch. It was hard to concentrate on what was going on right now, but lying down helped a little bit. He closed his eyes and waited for whatever it was that Al was going to say.
Opening his eyes, Roy glanced over to where Alphonse was sitting and saw an angry scowl on the teen’s face. It was obvious Al was upset and had much to say, but he seemed torn between actually saying what was on his mind, and how to be at least marginally polite at the same time. That was just the way Alphonse was.
Finally, Al looked away and said tightly, “I wasn’t expecting you to be in this sort of shape...” He seemed to be a little frustrated that he couldn’t take out his full wrath on someone who looked so bad already.
Roy let out a long breath. He didn’t need pity. “Just say what it is that you came here to say. I look a little worse than I am because I just woke up and I took some medication before that.” The last thing he wanted was for Al to leave without having his peace. If he did that, then the anger would simply fester inside of him—that was something Roy was all too familiar with...
Alphonse glanced at him, then away, then back to him before saying, “What happened that day?”
“Did you ask Ed?” It was a stupid question; after all, Alphonse probably wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t talked with Ed.
“Yes,” Al said, his voice dripping with suppressed ire. “He told me a few things—what he remembered anyway. But you...” He paused as if to get a hold on himself, then continued. “But you... you know. You remember.”
“What did he tell you?” Roy said in a faint whisper. He didn’t want to tell Alphonse what had happened, but not telling him anything might make things worse.
“He told me the two of you had a fight. He said that you said he was selfish.” Al’s eyes narrowed and fury flashed in his normally pleasant eyes. “And he said that you said that I hated him...” It was said in a low tone that resembled distant thunder; a storm on the horizon. That’s what this was, Roy thought. The storm was coming and it was his own fault he was caught out in it.
Roy swallowed, then sat up. He needed a drink... Not liquor, but maybe some coffee or tea... Something that would help him concentrate.
“Is it true?” Al asked firmly.
Grabbing the crutch, Roy stood and began to hobble toward the kitchen. “Would you like some coffee?” he asked. He could hear Al get out of the chair he’d been sitting in, and footsteps as he walked across the room before he felt himself being grabbed, turned around, and suddenly thrown against a wall. Pain flashed through his arm and leg. He winced and barely kept himself from crying out.
“You son-of-a-bitch!” Al seethed. His eyes were moist now and the anger and pain behind them glimmered softly in the dim light of the room. “How could you say such a thing?!” Al’s voice broke and a tear trickled down his cheek. “You know all that brother has been through! You’re supposed to be the one who cares for him and protects him!”
Roy looked away in shame. Alphonse was right... He closed his eyes when Al forced him to look back at him.
“What happened that day?!” Al demanded.
Roy breathed in slowly, trying to clear his mind, then opened his eyes and said simply, “We fought. Emotions were high. I let my temper get out of control which resulted in me losing control of the car. That’s all.”
Alphonse moved in close and breathed, “That’s not good enough. This is my brother’s life we’re talking about. You nearly killed him physically, but what the hell did you do to him mentally?!” Al tightened his grip on Roy. “What did you tell him...? What did you say?” Roy peered deeply into Al’s eyes. While not quick to anger, Alphonse Elric could be down right scary when he did become angry.
“And if I don’t tell you?” Roy asked calmly. “What will you do? Beat it out of me?” He glanced down at his injured arm and leg to point out the fact that he was already broken physically before looking back up. “And if I do tell you...” Roy whispered. “Do you really think it will change what happened? Do you think it will change things between Ed and me?” Al’s grip wavered and he swallowed hard before looking away from Roy. “Yeah... I didn’t think so either.”
Al released him and walked a few steps away from him before bringing a hand up to cover his face. “I’m sorry... I... I don’t know what got into me... I just...”
“Can you make coffee?” Roy asked. Alphonse dropped his hand and turned to look at Roy with a questioning glance.
“Good coffee?” When Al nodded hesitantly, Roy inclined his head toward the kitchen and said, “Why don’t you go ahead and make some for the two of us. It will give you time to think about what you’d like to say, and it will give me a little more time to wake up.”
Al’s lips turned up into a small smile. “Colonel, that may be true, but I know you well enough that I’m sure the fact that you like getting other people to do things for you is factored into that somewhere.”
Roy cleared his throat, and murmured, “Perhaps,” before turning and limping toward the couch. Lying down, he closed his eyes and listened to the sounds from the kitchen. This wasn’t a conversation he could avoid. He could try. He could evade the truth; feed Alphonse enough bullshit to get him to go away, but it would backfire on him in the end. He could modify the truth to make himself look better; after all, Ed didn’t remember everything that happened...
But what was the point of lying? Al was right. He had almost killed Ed, and the things he’d said before the accident... That type of behavior was why he and Ed shouldn’t be together. He cared for Ed deeply and couldn’t stand the thought of hurting him again so badly.
“Do you want cream or sugar?”
Roy opened his eyes to see Alphonse standing over him. “Not today,” Roy said, sitting up.
Al nodded and moved back into the kitchen, and a moment later came out with two mugs. After handing one of them to Roy, Alphonse sat down on the chair he’d occupied previously and stared silently at his mug.
Roy took a sip of his coffee and nodded in approval before slowly asking, “How is he?”
“How do you think he is?” Al asked reproachfully. Alphonse was not happy, and it was obvious he wouldn’t be placated until he got the information he wanted.
Roy took another sip of his coffee. He didn’t want to play games with Al. This wasn’t about winning or losing, and it wasn’t about him. By trying to win, trying not to get hurt, he’d lost. There was no more game to play, and he didn’t want Alphonse to think otherwise. So it was the truth, plain and simple. No games. No lies. No diverting the facts or twisting them to fit his own needs.
Just the truth.
Unfortunately, the truth wasn’t his friend, and he had a feeling Alphonse wouldn’t be either after this discussion was over.
“I don’t know.” A simple phrase, yet it hurt to say it out loud because he should know. He should be there for Ed...
“You’d know if you bothered to come to the hospital,” Al said in a tone that allowed no forgiveness.
“He needs you,” Al growled.
“You and the Rockbells were there. I didn’t want to interfere.” It was partially the truth, but a weak excuse none the less and Alphonse was not impressed.
Al’s grip on his mug tightened and he said, “You should be there for him.”
Sighing heavily, Roy let his eyes fall to the rich, brown liquid in his mug. “I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, Alphonse, but your brother and I are no longer seeing each other.”
“I’ve recently become aware of that fact,” Al said tightly.
“Then you can understand why—” Roy began, but was cut off.
“I can understand. I can understand that you broke up with my brother at the exact time that he needs you most!” Alphonse threw back.
Roy looked up and scowled. “It’s for his own good. It’s my fault he’s in this situation. I’m not good for him. He deserves better and I’m giving him that chance.”
Al sat forward in his chair and asked pointedly, “Do you still love him?”
The question threw him off, and for a moment he said nothing, then he glanced back down at his coffee before taking a drink. “I think you know the answer to that question,” he murmured.
“Then why don’t you let him decide what he wants?”
Roy looked up. “Because, Ed doesn’t know what’s good for him.”
Alphonse took a drink of his coffee, then said, “You should stop treating him like a kid. Brother is an adult you know. He’s capable of making his own decisions.”
“Perhaps I’d treat him more like an adult if he acted like one,” Roy shot back irritably. He wasn’t too thrilled with the way this conversation was going.
Roy had lifted his mug to take a drink, then stopped and said, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Only that you’re not exactly the epitome of maturity right now either,” Al said. Roy was about to retort to that when Alphonse spoke up again, and this time his voice was a little less hard. “Colonel... brother and I have known you since we were kids... I’ve seen you in different situations and I do know you’re mature, but...”
Al shook his head and took a drink. “I can tell that you actually love my brother... I’ve heard that love can make people do strange things and act in ways that don’t always make sense.” He paused and gave a sheepish smile. “I guess you can say that I know this from a little of my own experience...”
Roy gave Alphonse a weak smile back and waited for him to continue. He wasn’t too happy thinking about himself in love, it almost seemed like an oxymoron, but... it was true. He didn’t want to be in love, but there it was.
“From what I see, the main problem you and brother have is that your communication sucks,” Al said. “I mean, you obviously love my brother, and he obviously loves you, but the two of you have different ways of showing it. Instead of breaking up, maybe you should try working things out. Actually talk to each other instead of making each other guess what you mean.”
Roy frowned. Alphonse had some very good points; and, as he thought about the time he and Ed had been together, he realized that communication was probably the biggest problem they had. He wanted to believe that he and Ed could work something out, that they could be together again, but Roy didn’t know if it was possible. Could Ed ever forgive him for what he’d done, and for all the horrible things he’d said? Could he forgive himself...?
“Did Ed send you here to say that?” Roy finally asked.
“No,” Al said and studied Roy intently as if he could tell what he was thinking just by looking at him, then he grinned. “But I’m sure he would have if he’d thought of it.”
Roy stared idly up at the ceiling. It was well after nine in the morning and he knew he really should get up, but he really didn’t feel like it. He’d taken some pain medication—though only half the dose so that he wouldn’t fall asleep. Unfortunately, that much still made him feel a little groggy. He sighed. He knew he really should get up, but getting up meant moving around, getting dressed, going down the damn stairs; and most of all, getting up meant that he had to face another day without Ed.
He sighed. The talk with Alphonse had given him a lot to think about. Alphonse had some good ideas, yet... It was too late for those ideas. He’d already messed up and what he’d done was unforgivable. If he were Ed, Roy knew that he wouldn’t forgive him. Teenagers just don’t know what’s in their best interest... Ed only thought he wanted to be with Roy because he was letting his feelings cloud his judgment. Any mature adult would be smart enough to know they didn’t want a relationship with someone like him...
Resting his uninjured arm over his eyes, Roy let his breath out slowly. This whole situation was a disaster. He felt like a disaster—a state he hadn’t been in since Ishbal.
“Damn you, Ed,” Roy growled angrily. How had he fallen so hard? For Ed of all people... Even now, Roy could see him in his mind, hear his voice in his ears, feel his touch on his skin...
He felt disgustingly weak, and to think he’d made fun of Maes when he’d fallen so hard for Gracia. At that time, Roy had teased his friend unmercifully about being so sappy and emotional for something as insignificant as love. He just hadn’t understood... But he did now, and Roy desperately wished he didn’t. He’d never wanted love, and he hadn’t realized until it was too late that he’d already been infected with it.
‘Love can make people do strange things...’ Alphonse’s words rang loud in his head making Roy squeeze his eyes shut even tighter as if that would stop himself from remembering. It didn’t though and Ed appeared even more defined in his imagination. Roy let himself enjoy the image, felt himself get lost in Ed—at least until the phone rang and disrupted his thoughts.
With a sigh, Roy moved his arm from his eyes and groped blindly for the phone. He didn’t want to lose the vision he’d conjured. When his fingers touched the receiver, Roy picked it up and said mildly, “Hello?” then realized that wouldn’t do, cleared his throat, and said, “This is Mustang.”
He could hear the sound of people and trains in the background, then a hesitant, “Er... hey... it’s... uh Ed. Did I wake you?”
“Ed...” Roy murmured opening his eyes in surprise. “No, no you didn’t wake me...” he said quickly. “I...” He swallowed, trying to school his ridiculous feelings of excitement; after all, he and Ed weren’t together anymore... “What can I do for you?” he asked more hesitantly.
“Er... well... I just wanted to apologize for the way Al... sorta... got in your face the other day. He, ah, made me talk... and... well... I...” Ed’s voice faltered then trailed off.
So Al had told Ed what had happened... Well, Roy supposed he shouldn’t be too surprised at that. The two of them were close. “There’s nothing for you to apologize for,” Roy said after a moment, thinking of Alphonse’s visit. “Your brother has valuable insights and makes good coffee.” The coffee had definitely been good... Roy looked regrettably at the empty cup he’d brought up last night. It had held tea, not coffee, but right now Roy could use a cup of coffee... Something to get him going...
“Oh...” Ed said a little sadly. Roy frowned a little, wondering what that was all about, then forgot about it when Ed continued. “I, uh... I’m going home—to Rizembool—for a while.” He sighed and began mumbling.
“How long will you be gone?” Roy asked, wanting to know and also wanting to hear Ed talk more. He’d missed his voice...
Ed sighed again. “I... don’t know. It’ll be pretty rough. My arm is pretty messed up... But that’s in no way your fault you know! I don’t blame you or anything!” Ed added quickly. “It... it was just an accident.” Ed made a sound of frustration, then added, “I don’t even know what I’m saying...”
Roy frowned, suddenly feeling a little concerned. Rizembool was a good few days away and the ride wasn’t always smooth... “Are you going to be alright to travel?” he asked.
Ed made a small, almost imperceptible gasp, then said, “Er, well, I don’t really have a choice. This can’t wait any longer.”
“Of course...” Roy murmured. It had been a stupid question anyway... He closed his eyes, letting himself give into the pull of the pain medication, and immediately the image of Ed was back in his head. He wanted to reach out and touch him, but it was impossible. “Ed...” He murmured.
“Yeah?” Ed asked.
Roy paused, still looking at the image of Ed in his mind, then said quietly, “I’m glad you called...” He felt so pathetic saying it, but it was true. He was glad. If only he could have Ed here right now...
“Can I call again? After the surgery? Maybe?” Ed asked cautiously.
One part of him wanted to deny Ed’s request. They weren’t together any longer! He shouldn’t allow it! “I would like that...” he finally said. He knew he was weak, but right now he didn’t care.
“Are you sure? Cause you can say that you don’t want me bothering you, I’d understand,” Ed said. His voice sounded a little forced, but he seemed confident in his words. There was the murmur of voices near Ed then the sound of staticy noise before Ed said, “Just a sec...”
Roy waited quietly, still enjoying the image of Ed in his mind. He wished Ed would stay on the phone forever... There was more static on Ed’s end then, “Ah, I got to go soon. I got, like five more minutes, so...”
“Of course,” Roy said, feeling a little disappointed at this. “Don’t let me keep you; I don’t want you hurting yourself rushing to the train.” He was well aware of how often Ed and Alphonse had gotten on the train at the last minute or even ran to catch up with it.
“But what about me calling?” Ed pressed. “You didn’t sound like you wanted me to. Maybe I could write instead? I’m not the best letter writer, but, I mean, I’m going to be in bed for a while, so maybe now I would be, you never know. Maybe I’ll write to you anyway. You don’t have to mail me back or anything; that way you can still know what I’m up to without pestering people to check up on me like in the old days,” Ed said quickly with a nervous little laugh. “I can tell you all about how Winry likes to bug the shit outta me. Daily!” He made a ‘tisk’ing noise, then said in a fluster, “Oh shit, I’m rambling again—fuck! Sorry.”
Roy smiled. He didn’t mind, not really. He was getting what he wanted—which was Ed speaking to him. Of course, how Ed was speaking was amusing. He was obviously nervous... he hadn’t heard Ed be nervous for quite a while.
“Ed,” Roy said simply.
“Eh? What? I didn’t piss you off or anything did I? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean too.” He sounded upset now and Roy could hear angry mutterings on Ed’s end.
“Edward. Be quiet and listen to me for a moment,” Roy said in a light commanding voice. There was a small ‘eep’ on Ed’s end, then silence. “I said you could call. That means you can call. If you want to write...” He paused, then let a small nostalgic smile grow on his face. “Well...” Another pause. “That’s fine too.”
“I can? You sure?” Ed asked in a hopefully eager voice.
Roy sighed softly, then said wearily, “Am I supposed to say ‘no’ after a specific number of times that you ask?” He didn’t want to keep reaffirming himself.
Ed laughed. “I don’t know, maybe? I’m sorry, let’s blame that on the drugs, please.”
The affect of painkillers was something Roy could understand all too well. “Alright,” he conceded. “But you can’t use that excuse every time,” he added in a slightly teasing tone.
Ed snickered. “Too bad though. That’s a good excuse.” There was a small pause then, “Ah, fuck, I got to go. Winry’s stalking over towards me and it doesn’t look pretty. Do you know? She’s taken to pulling my hair. I hate that, but it’s better than the usual, which is a wrench thrown at me—okay, okay! No! Don’t pull my hair!” Roy frowned at the exchange going on. Someone else—most likely the Rockbell girl—was talking, then he heard Ed exclaim, “Ack! I said, don’t pull my hair! Dammit! I got to go Roy.”
“Have a safe trip...” Roy said, wondering if that would be possible given how rough Ed and Winry tended to be with one another.
“Yeah... I’ll call you after the procedure.” There was a small pause, then Ed said softly, “Bye.”
It was said in a tone so close to what he’d come to expect from Ed when they were being intimate with each other, that Roy felt a lump form in his throat. “Bye...” he said just as softly. There was a click as the phone was hung up on the other side, and Roy added, “I miss you, Ed...” before setting the receiver gently down on its cradle.
Please note that all of Ed's dialogue is kikiko_haru's, but everything else is mine. Be sure to check out kikiko_haru's "Ed's POV" HERE at her journal!